[CF Devotionals] 2005-04-17 - How Do You Spell Relief?

Psalm 4, Introduction

Louis L'Amour was truly a great American storyteller. His stories of the West were authentic, well-written, and filled with the historical morality that is sadly missing from today's society. Mr. L'Amour was certainly an American success story. He had written over one hundred books, many which I have read. His name on a book guaranteed its success. Many of his stories have been recorded. He was highly respected by many, and rightly so. But the death of L'Amour was also very sad. Here was a man or traditional morality, who wrote enjoyable books without the "necessity" of "adult" language and gratuitous sex. I wouldn't be concerned about recommending his books to anybody.

Why was his death sad? Was it because the loss of an American heritage? Yes! But his death was sad for another reason. He died suffering from a condition he wasn't aware of - but not the cancer that killed him, for he was aware of that. Rather, he died suffering from a distress affecting many today: idolatry, placing something, anything, ahead of the Lord.

If you read his books carefully, especially The Haunted Mesa , you will find L'Amour was a mystic, probably even a pantheist. Unwilling to accept God, but needing some answer to life, like the modern theologian, he was a proponent of religious mysticism. How sad that a man who brought such joy to so many had no idea of the source of true joy. He was a man suffering from distress, without even being aware of it. If he had only asked:

"How do You Spell Relief?"

David was also suffering from distress. It wasn't that he had eaten too much, nor that he had a headache from trying to keep his wives happy or his mother-in-laws placated. But he was clearly suffering.

The questions to be asked are:

  • What was the cause of the pain?
  • What was the cure for it?
  • What was the source of relief?

Psalm 4 deals with the answers to these questions. It answers the question: "How do You Spell Relief?"

First, we need to look at the text, and then we will examine its focus and how we can apply it to our own situation. But first, I would again like to read a different translation, from the Anchor Bible.


For the director; with stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

When I call, answer me, O God of my vindication;
In distress, set me at large;
O men of rank, how long must my Glorious One be insulted?
How long will you worship inanities or consult idols? Selah

And recognize that Yahweh will work wonders for the one devoted to him,
Yahweh will hear me when I call him.
Be disquieted, but do not sin,
Examine your conscience,
Upon your beds, weep. Selah

Offer legitimate sacrifices, and trust in Yahweh.
Many keep saying, "Who will show us rain?
The light of your face has fled from us, O Yahweh."
Put happiness in my heart;
now let their wheat and their wine increase.
In his peaceful presence, I shall lie down and sleep;
For you alone, O Yahweh, make my repose secure. 1

1 Mitchell Dahood, The Anchor Bible, "Psalms 1," Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1978, p. 22.

To be continued.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com